“ Hard work doesn’t pay off – Oh Flower you could not bloom !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Written in response to: Write a story where hard work doesn’t pay off.... view prompt


Desi Drama Sad

“ Hard work doesn’t pay off – Oh Flower you could not bloom !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“Flower”, a playschool project that was undertaken by siblings “Varun”, “Mallika”, “Bhasmi” and “Dr Muskaan” unfortunately could not succeed. In fact, it failed miserably.

It all started when one afternoon when their mother “Mrs Verma” read in the newspaper about the franchisee mela being held at Pragati Maidan , New Delhi.

“This is a fantastic opportunity kids, you should definitely visit”. Oh yes Mom sure we will, agreed Varun and Mallika.

The coming Saturday they visited the Franchisee Mela, after checking out various stalls they came across a beautifully decorated stall that read as “Flower”.

Flower, was owned by Mrs Navneet Patra and was managed by Mr Abhilash as the CEO. When they visited the stall, Mr Abhilash welcomed them along with his assistant Miss Reshma . Mr Abhilash, presented a very rosy picture of “Flower” playschool. He listed out all the business opportunities in his most efficient manner. He also arranged for site visits to a couple of branches which were doing well.

All this impressed the Verma siblings so much that they immediately signed up the franchise agreement papers. They were assured of the full branch support by the management. The setup of the branch required a budget of about Rs 10 lakhs. So, the next task was to seek a suitable place for it. The marketing manager Anoop on his two wheeler came up with weird sites with very expensive rent amounts. “Oh Anoop! The rent is too much , we will not be able to afford it “ the siblings would often discussed with Anoop.

However, Mr Abhilash and his team made no efforts to get a cheaper place. With help of a broker who charged a large amount , they somehow arranged a place with a rent amount close to Rs 50k /month. The place which they got was a small flat in a very bad condition. The doors were crackling, electric fittings were absurd and plaster was coming off. They had to get it renovated by spending large amount of money as it had to be done at the condition of the franchisor as per their norms. The landlord was a fine person but was too particular about the money.

The franchisors were very clever people and they got their people engaged in the whole process. The labour costs were more than double and the cost of the material, the school furniture , swings etc was more than the market rates. The team that visited from the franchisor was very rude and mean and also incompetent. Mrs Patra , the owner was least bothered about the way work was being handled at the setup of the new branch. The set up cost skyrocketed from Rs 10 lakhs to close to Rs 20 lakhs. The labour and skilled personnel were provided by the franchisor.

“Don’t worry, we will manage “ the family assured. “Alright , we will make arrangements “ they said and Dr Muskaan, Bhashmi and their mother had to withdraw their life savings and arranged for funds.

Dr Muskaan came all the way across the country for the inauguration of their branch, but it was cancelled at the last moment by Mr Abhilash. It was postponed for 20 days. Poor Dr Muskaan, was heartbroken as she could not stay for their venture.

Anyhow, the branch finally had its “D-Day”. Then too Mrs Patra could not find time to visit it as she was too busy. She sent her representative “Sushi “ for the visit. “Dr Sushi had no knowledge of the know how of the business and was practically good for nothing. “

Anyhow , the inauguration was completed fine. The next task was admissions. The place the “Flower” team had selected already had close to 15 playschools nearby. “Oh you don’t worry, you will have a healthy competition” was the logic given by Mr Abhilash’s assistant.

The initial 6 months were full of struggle, varun and mallika used to sit for hours together . They had to take care of the electricity bills, arrange for the staff, teachers, maids etc. People were reluctant on seeing the empty premises and did not want to risk the security of their children.

In the name of Demo class, lots of gifts had to be arranged which were very expensive too. Many of the parents just came, had beverages , collected the goodies never to show up again. All the expenses had to be borne by the family only. They were able to manage only 3 kids in the branch. However they had to pay salary of 10 staff including the cook, teachers, maids, and security card . They had to get the CCTV’s camera close to 8 cameras in the whole premises. The neighbours raised objection on the same. Every month the franchisor asked them to arrange for events for the local people for free and again they had to bear humongous costs on the same.

“ Varun and Mallika , Your branch is a very homely branch, the colour of the curtains is not very pleasant that is why you are not getting any admissions” , were the feedback given by Sushi . Mrs Patra, never ever bothered to visit the branch.

Every morning Mallika would visit the branch and continued to sit till 8 pm. Day in and day out. Somehow the kids increased but there were issues about the fee and they could never collect the fees that would make them reach the breakeven.

The staff that they had hired was also incompetent. The teachers were not qualified enough to handle the students and would always pick up fights with each other. The maids wasted the material unnecessarily.

Every second day the eldest sister “Bhashmi” shopped for the school and used to bring all quality stuff be it food, snacks, groceries, toiletries , blankets, beds but still nothing seem to work.

The main task of the teachers was to please Varun their boss and get him fight against Mallika. Varun also, was under the impression that the teachers are all good and used to increase their salaries without any reason, without caring that the money was going from their pocket itself.

Whenever , summer camp was organised the teachers did activities which again costed a fortune. The staff would always hog upon in the parties and never ever made any contribution to any of the parties or snacks. Even the watchman was rude enough to throw the tea served to them. The franchisor was very shrewd and sold the student kits and other material at humongous costs. 

Varun and Mallika provided the best of facilities , crockery, food items, sanitary items , beds and blankets but the parents were always over complaining so much so that they even filed a case against them.

Every fortnight , Varun , Bhashmi and Mallika would visit the newspaper vendors and would get their flyers put in the papers. In the night they used to put banners, hoardings and highlight boards on the poles , trees, institutions and would often risk their lives as a couple of times they encountered local goons. They would drop in to every possible shop, school and would organise expensive events each month in parks, neighbourhood, auditoriums but to vain they could never even reach the breakeven. Mr Abhilash, Mrs Patra nobody was ever concerned about them

Every month close to Rs 1 lakh was being spent on the maintainence and salary of the employees.

Slowly, 3 years passed and the venture could never pick up. The expenses were too hard to bear and the franschisor was indifferent. At last they decided to quit the franchisor and have their own setup. They again got the paint and polish of the entire premises done. They bought their own material, got bags , dresses, curriculum , marketing material and everything printed but at the last moment pandemic set in. It broke them out completely. Still they bore the rent for close to six months but had to leave the premises as they had no pocket to bear the loss. The family also had to bear the tragic loss of their sister Dr Muskaan.

Till date, the family curses the Patras, Mr Abhilash, the staff and everyone that is responsible for the loss. It was a waste of time, efforts, money and caused a lot of pain and agony and an unbearable loss to the family close to Rs 50 Lakhs.

Whenever a fight picks up in the family, it mostly is due to unsuccessful venture and unbearable loss of the “Flower” project. All the hard work just got in vain. The family could have used the amount in their savings, or villa or medical expenses but it will always be a stigma in their lives. “ O Flower- you could never bloom”.

March 11, 2022 18:21

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